Tobias Bernard is an interaction designer based in Berlin.

I design public interest software, mostly as part of the GNOME Project.

I work for Purism, maker of computers that respect your human rights. My current focus is the OS and apps for the Librem 5 phone.

You can find me on Mastodon and Twitter, read my blog, or send me email.

Recent Work

Most of what I do these days is part of GNOME, a project building an ethical OS accessible to everyone. All of this work is collaborative, but these are some recent initiatives I’ve been a driving force for.

GNOME 40 — A major refresh to the GNOME system interface. It includes a cleaner spatial model, more approachable workspaces, and smooth touchpad gestures.

Release Website
Laptop illustration Screenshot of the overview in GNOME 40.

Adaptive Apps — Native apps that work on your desktop, your phone, and everything in between. This is an ongoing long-term effort, but a large number of system and third party GNOME apps have already been ported to this new paradigm.

My GUADEC 2019 talk gives an overview of the initiative.

GUADEC 2019 Talk

App Icon System — A new platform app icon style optimized for easy adoption by third party apps. We also made design tools to support the new workflow.

LGM 2020 Talk Icon Design Tutorial
TeX Match app icon Webfont Kit Generator app icon Foliate app icon Nostalgia app icon Text Pieces app icon DynamicWallpaperEditor app icon Social app icon Librem5 app icon Camera app icon Tootle app icon DejaDup app icon Workbench app icon


In addition to my work on the GNOME core system and apps, I've also designed a number of third party apps.

Contrast — A fun little app to check if the colors in your designs have enough contrast. Designed by me, and developed by Bilal Elmoussaoui.

Get the App Contrast checker app window comparing light pink to dark purple.

Fragments — Finally, a torrent client that isn't a bloated mess. Designed by me, and developed by Felix Häcker.

Get the App Fragments torrent client downloading some GNU/Linux distribution ISOs.

Writing & Speaking

I occasionally write articles and speak at conferences, usually about design, public interest technology, or some combination of the two. These are some of my favorites from the last few years.

How to be Upstream-First — On why developing software upstream is more efficient, produces better results, and makes for a healthier ecosystem. This article explains the approach and lays out how to do it in practice using our experience with GNOME Mobile as an example.

Article on the Purism Blog

There is no “Linux” Platform — On the state of the “Linux” app ecosystem and why vertical integration is the only way forward.

Article on my Blog

Semantic Animation — A holistic approach to designing animated interfaces. I've co-written an article on A List Apart and given talks about it at conferences and meetups.

Article on A List Apart FOSDEM 2018 Talk

Design-Driven Free Software — My SFSCon 2017 talk on why Free (as in freedom) software needs to embrace design, why that’s hard to pull off, and how we can get there.

Other Projects

Though my focus is interaction design I also do branding, web development, and illustration (among other things) from time to time.

Nostalgia — A little app I built to make it easy to use Jakub Steiner’s awesome dynamic default wallpapers from past GNOME releases.

Get the App App window with a scrolling list of wallpapers.

Brand for systemd — Like it or not, everything kind of needs to have a logo these days, even low-level Linux infrastrucure projects.

Brand Guidelines The systemd logo, two brackets with a circle and triangle between them.

Dynasty — A tool for generating visualizations of succession timelines, e.g. all the roman emperors (PDF).

Project Website Timeline visualization of the lives and reigns of roman emperors.

Impossible Cities — A collaborative short story and illustration project, inspired by Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Project Website
City drawn with just 6 continuous lines in different colors. City on a cloud, drawn with thin black lines.